The head of Xbox Games Studio sparked a debate over the use of computer AI in QA testing for video games this past week.
Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty said he believes that artificial intelligence will be a major benefit for the games industry if the technology continues to move forward.
“If we’re working on a movie and you come in and say ‘hey, this ending let’s tighten this up, let’s edit this, let’s cut that scene,’ it usually doesn’t break anything at the beginning of the movie,” Booty said at a PAX West panel (via VGC).
He added, “But in a game you can be ready to ship and a designer’s like ‘I’ve got this one little feature, I’m just going to change the color on this one thing’ and then it somehow blows up something and now the first 10 minutes of the game doesn’t play. So that testing aspect, every single time anything new goes into a big game the whole game has to be tested, front-to-back, side-to-side.”
Booty says that his dream is to see AI testers become a reality in the industry.
“There’s a lot going on AI machine learning right now, and people using AI to generate all these new images,” the Xbox boss said. “I’ve always, I always say when I bump into AI, folks help me figure out how to use an AI bot to go test a game.”
In a world of increasing automation, there are people who are concerned that AI and computers will be a replacement for the human components of a business.
It does not appear that Matt Booty is arguing to completely replace human testers. Instead, the Xbox boss wants to find a way that AI testing can help to improve the product on the side of the human tester as well. However, at the same time, it is no secret that QA testers are not exactly treated well by the games industry.
Many, like those who work at Raven Software and Bioware, have sought to create unions in order to fight back against what they believe to be unfair treatment, termination, and pay. So, we will have to wait to see what the future holds for QA testing.